As an aspiring model you’re most likely familiar with the difficulties that come with finding modeling jobs that fit what you want to do as a model. In most cases the easiest solution that people think of is signing with a modeling agency or in some cases a talent service company. These two entities are useful tools that can be used for aspiring models as they tend to have the same goals in mind, which is to help their clients find auditions, open calls, and jobs that can lend them experience, good pay, and a great path toward their dreams.
Unfortunately, despite their overall goals being identical there is a difference in how these two types of companies conduct their business and this had led to some confusion among people. It’s sad to say, but model agencies are sometimes regarded as the one and only way to find success in the modeling industry and if you don’t do things their way then you’re labeled as a company that scams people. We at Model Search America have a problem with this type of logic and want to help educate people on how a talent service and agency are actually different, but can still be used to help you have a successful modeling career.
What is a Talent Service?
Like we’ve already stated before a talent service is very similar to model agencies, and sometimes people mistake them for being one which can also be problematic. This is because a talent service is a not an agency, it’s a company that’s providing a “service” to people who have aspirations to get into the entertainment industry. This can include modeling, acting, singing, dance or anything else you could possibly think of when you the words entertainment industry come to mine.
A talent service typically has a database full of aspiring talent (people who want to model, act, etc.) that they work with to help find all types of modeling jobs that are being offered. A company will then send out notices for potential open calls that are available within their area, and those who receive these notifications are free to sign up to audition and attend the open call. As people attend these events they are given the same opportunity to potentially land a role in a fashion show, movie, or whatever they were auditioning for at the time.
How Does a Talent Service Differ from an Agency?
Now that you understand what a talent service is, the next order of business is to compare it to modeling agencies and see where the two differ from one another. The honest truth is that there are not too many differences, but the ones that do exist seem to spark some real controversy amongst people. Here are just two differences that you will see and hear about from other people about how you can become a model with these two types of companies:
- Payment Methods: One of the first differences you’re going to hear about is the payment method. Modeling agencies are well known for not asking for upfront fees and instead are paid by taking a commission percentage out of their talent’s earnings from each job they receive. A talent service typically asks for a one-time enrollment fee to handle expenses such as headshots and composition cards, but once this is paid you only have to pay a monthly fee to stay enrolled and any money you earn from a job is 100% yours. Now many so-called experts will try to tell you that any “modeling agency that asks for an upfront fee is a scam”, which may be partially true. However, a talent service is not an agency remember, so their decision to ask for payment upfront is completely legit if they are providing you with something of equal value in return; which in this case is your head shots and comp card.
- Choosing a Photographer: Since we’ve briefly touched on head shots it’s probably a good idea to mention that you will also see a difference in how you choose a photographer and what not. In this case you’ll notice that a talent service usually has a designated photographer or photographers that they work with who can help you get your headshots done professionally done, as well as your comp card for one fee. A modeling agency will typically allow you to go work with any photographer and get your headshots, but you will have to pay for that and your comp card separately.
These are two of the biggest discrepancies you will see when comparing a talent service to a model agency. However, that does not mean that one is a scam. It actually just points out the fact that businesses can be fun differently and still offer a quality service to people.
How to Really Identify a Scam
Let’s be honest for a minute. Companies who are scams read the same blogs and articles you do that try to tell help people identify their sneaky ways, which is why people still get scammed. People like this know what you’re looking out for, so they just serve up something different instead. So if you really want to find out if a company is a scam you have to do your own research and try to communicate with the business you’re working with.
In this industry it’s hard to just take the word of people who used a specific company, because of the high level of competition among applicants. Often times people feel entitled to be casted in a fashion show, magazine cover, or commercial because they have signed up with a talent service or modeling agency, but that’s not always the case. Remember these companies help you get an audition, but landing a job is entirely up to you and whether or not the casting director thinks you’re a good fit. So just because people didn’t land an audition or get hired to participate in an event, it doesn’t mean that a talent service or modeling agency is an actual scam.
All you have to do is perform the necessary checks on who a company is and see if they have any success stories or testimonials that state that they are a reliable company.
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